Serrated Epithelial Change Is Associated With High Rates of Neoplasia in Ulcerative Colitis Patients: A Case-controlled Study and Systematic Review With Meta-analysis

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2021 Aug 19;27(9):1475-1481. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izaa312.

Alyssa M Parian 1, Berkeley N Limketkai 1 2, Reezwana Chowdhury 1, Gala Godoy Brewer 1, George Salem 1, Katie Falloon 3, Florin Selaru 1, Joanna Melia 1, Mark G Lazarev 1


Author information

1Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.

2Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

3Department of Gastroenterology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA.


Background: Patients with long-standing ulcerative colitis (UC) are at an increased risk of colorectal cancer. Risk stratification is important to identify patients who require more frequent endoscopic surveillance. Serrated epithelial change (SEC) found in patients with long-standing colitis may be associated with neoplasia and serve as a marker to stratify patients at higher risk of colorectal cancer (CRC).

Methods: A case-control study was performed to compare the rates of neoplasia between UC patients with SEC and UC patients without SEC who were matched for age, disease duration, and disease extent. Paired tests, conditional logistic regression, and Kaplan-Meier analyses were used to compare groups. A systematic review with meta-analysis was performed, combining our local data with previously published data.

Results: This study included 196 UC patients without prior neoplasia, 98 with SEC and 98 without SEC. Ulcerative colitis patients with SEC had a significantly higher rate of synchronous or metachronous neoplasia than UC patients without SEC (26.5% vs 3.1%; P < 0.001). Synchronous or metachronous high-grade dysplasia and CRC were found more frequently in UC patients with SEC than UC patients without SEC (11.2% vs 2.0%; P = 0.02). A meta-analysis was consistent with these findings, showing a higher rate of neoplasia in patients with SEC compared with those without SEC (16.4% vs 3.9%; P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Serrated epithelial change is associated with a significantly increased risk of synchronous and metachronous neoplasia including high-grade dysplasia and CRC in patients with UC. Histopathological findings of SEC should warrant closer endoscopic surveillance for CRC.

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